Steve Fowler admits finding industrial property in North Bay is not easy.
"But that's not a bad thing, because that means they are all active," said Fowler, a former Mattawa resident.
"So we had very limited real estate that we had to look at."
Fowler, the general manager of Industrial Plastics Canada (IPC), noticed a vacant facility on Wallace Road where Warren Equipment used to operate in the city's east end.
Fowler connected with Harry Bursey, the owner of the facility, which was used to manufacture and remanufacture battery and diesel locomotives for tunnelling in mines. That business operated at the location from 1958 to around 2019.
Fowler said the 30,000-square-foot facility will be ideal to manufacture his product called polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, a Teflon-like material which is described as "a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications."
Fowler says it will take about six months to bring in all the machinery.
"We are going to be making a product here called PTFE," he said.
"Basically it looks like a nylon. We are not making it for our end users; we are making if for customers who will make products like gasket seals, and from every industry from mining to material transfer to food products. You name it, we are going to be in that industry. So it is going to be really good for North Bay."
Fowler said they will hiring soon as well.
"We have six months in renovations that we have to do," he said.
"We are looking to have close to 30 employees by the end of the year. That is all hinged up the supply chain, which we are already seeing as an issue for everybody."
Fowler hopes to be able to collaborate with some of the other mining technology companies based in North Bay, too.
"I hope so — not only from a product point of view but from a small community of industrial people that work together. I am really hoping for that," said Fowler.
"We really want to be part of the community here in North Bay. We would like to carry on what this company has done — the company before us — we would like to carry that on. He had a company here for 40 years; he had generations of employees, so sons and daughters that came in and worked."